Sep 15, 2017

Greenland Ice Sheet's 2017 weigh-in suggests a small increase in ice mass

Greenland
by
Rebecca Lindsey
,
Climate.gov
NASA aerial photo of a melt pond and stream on the surface of the Greenland Ice Sheet on July 19, 2017, with a graph of the total area with detectable surface melting this summer (blue line). From June through mid-July, the melt area was below the 1981-2010 median (gray line). Image: National Snow and Ice Data Center
NASA aerial photo of a melt pond and stream on the surface of the Greenland Ice Sheet on July 19, 2017, with a graph of the total area with detectable surface melting this summer (blue line). From June through mid-July, the melt area was below the 1981-2010 median (gray line). Image: National Snow and Ice Data Center

For nearly two decades, Greenland has been losing mass every year. 

An exceptionally good snow year and a short surface melting season may result in a small ice gain in 2017. 

The estimated increase of ~44 billion tons will do little to change the ice sheet's trajectory, however.  Even if the ice sheet saw similar gains each year, it would take more than 80 years for it to return to its 2002 mass.